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Steering Rack

Discussion in '2nd Gen. Tacomas (2005-2015)' started by colenaymark, Dec 18, 2018.

  1. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:15 PM
    #1
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey Everyone, (2nd Gen DBCB, Off Road)

    I got an alignment today (truck has about 4" lift - TCUCA, stock lower, Fox 2.5 shocks in front) and the guy said to get the steering wheel back to center the rack would have to be reset as the rods are maxed out. I'm not sure what he meant by that...don't have a lot of experience with rack and pinions but sounds like a bunch of bs to me?!! I would think basically uncouple the steering shaft from the rack, reset the rack to center, reset rod ends, reattach shaft and then go back for an alignment...

    Am I missing something?
    Thanks
    Cole

    EDIT - SOLVED - SEE BELOW
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2019
  2. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:19 PM
    #2
    hx989

    hx989 Superunknown Member

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    Sounds right. How far is the steering wheel off?
     
  3. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:21 PM
    #3
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    not much, only about 5-10 degrees
     
  4. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:24 PM
    #4
    hx989

    hx989 Superunknown Member

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    Can u Live with it?
     
  5. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:24 PM
    #5
    b_r_o

    b_r_o Nature Boy

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    That's what he's saying, steering shaft needs to be disconnected. It's not part of a normal alignment
     
  6. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:29 PM
    #6
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Doing some research online, looks like that might be the ticket. But to your question,
    1. Trust him - no
    2. Value his work - no
    3. Pay him - nope

    hahah, I have the Firestone lifetime alignment so it's not a ma and pa shop that I trust. Looks like disconnecting the intermediate steering shaft isn't all that hard.
     
    b_r_o likes this.
  7. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:30 PM
    #7
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Normally I would say run it but the next time I need an alignment it could/will be a problem if the rod ends are maxed out.
     
  8. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:36 PM
    #8
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    concern - center of the rack is not equivalent to equal full lock steering right and full lock steering left
     
  9. Dec 18, 2018 at 1:40 PM
    #9
    b_r_o

    b_r_o Nature Boy

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    There is no fucking way I would let someone touch my truck that I dont trust. I dont care how many "free" alignments I'm getting, but to each their own..
     
  10. Dec 18, 2018 at 2:13 PM
    #10
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I'm normally on your level there but with the amount of Wheeling and driving I do, free alignments are key
     
  11. Apr 29, 2019 at 12:50 PM
    #11
    Rat_Bastard

    Rat_Bastard Well-Known Member

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    Did you ever figure out your alignment issue? I recently replaced my rack. I tried to get it centered by spinning the pinion and counting the number of from one side to the other. and then dividing the number of turns by 2. I will find out today if it's somewhat centered when Firestone tried to do an alignment.
     
  12. Apr 29, 2019 at 1:35 PM
    #12
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I did get this figured out:

    so, adjusting your intermediate shaft is just asking to kill your steering wheel horn ribbon by over tightening it when you are steering (plus your side to side steering angle will be different). I talked with my Toyota tech friend and we put the truck on the lift. The lower control arms had squashed over the camber adjustment channel (the lobes of the bolts had flattened the side of the channel). You can see that in this image below...(common 2nd Gen problem). Once that happens you'll be basically doing nothing when trying to re-adjust the camber bolts.

    [​IMG]

    one of the control arms was free (the bolts hadn't rusted) and I was able to loosen it, move the control arm back into place, bend back the tab, and weld a bead to keep it from happening again. The other side was so rusted I was not able to adjust the camber bolt. The toyota tech said that's pretty common and it's easiest and most cost effective to sawzall the bolts to pull the old control arm out and install a new one with new camber bolts. I did that (took about 2 hours and 10 blades). The new control arms are about $330 online and they come with the lower ball joint.

    Alignment problems corrected after that.
     
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  13. Apr 29, 2019 at 1:51 PM
    #13
    Rat_Bastard

    Rat_Bastard Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your speedy reply. If Firestone can't get it alligned, I will have to continue troubleshooting. The problem may not be the rack being off center. I recently came close to rolling my Taco and ended up being suspended (sideways) with the weight of the rear end balancing on the rear bumper and the front totally resting awkwardky on the front passenger wheel. The wheel was fully turned to the right. I have after market upper and lower arms with gusseted cams. I can't imagine the arms bending. So maybe the arm bolt is bent. IMG_20190417_132721_179.jpg
     
  14. Apr 29, 2019 at 1:56 PM
    #14
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Holy shit! what did the passenger side look like when you got pulled out of there? It's possible the mounts for the control arm just were bent (on the second gen, the mounts are just flimsy sheet metal tabs). I bet if you get under there and start looking you'll probably see something that's not right on the lower control arms...The knuckles have hard stops so I doubt you could damage the rack or rack location.
     
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  15. Apr 29, 2019 at 2:04 PM
    #15
    Rat_Bastard

    Rat_Bastard Well-Known Member

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    I did some deep searching yesterday in that area and nothing looked out of wack. The recovery was a complete success and got away with no body damage.

    20190417_122604.jpg
    20190417_122139.jpg
     
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  16. Apr 29, 2019 at 3:26 PM
    #16
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    That's awesome! Those airbags looked pretty key. Nice work!
     
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  17. Apr 29, 2019 at 3:42 PM
    #17
    Rat_Bastard

    Rat_Bastard Well-Known Member

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    I got lucky / airforce para rescue was doing recovery training that day! Just got word that Firestone still can't do an alignment. I have a crazy amount of toe. :confused:
     
  18. Apr 29, 2019 at 5:10 PM
    #18
    colenaymark

    colenaymark [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hmmm, let us brainstorm then - (I may or may not have done this on a professional level for an automotive company at one point...)

    Steps - identify the problem
    • Alignment spec not achievable
    Identify the what could contribute to problem
    • mechanical components
    Identify specific contributors to components
    • Find evaluation method and what can turn on/off said problem

    EVALUATION:
    • Toe is only adjustable via
      • Lower control arm front/back camber bolts (which will also induce camber)
        • bolts could be rusted and not movable - loosen and turn
        • bolt may have separated from cam lobe - loosen and turn, look for lobe movement
      • rod ends to rack
        • look to ensure rod end nuts are not rusted in place - loosen and tighten
        • ensure outer rod ends are not at max position (threads remaining for adjustment between rod end and rack)
      • over worn lower control arm ball joint
        • will be able to move ball joint with a crowbar placed under the wheel when the car is on jack stands (will move independently of control arm)
      • overall rack position
        • rack mount tabs bent
        • check for leaks, rub marks
        • turn full left, full right, ensure angle is centered
      • Control arm bushings (upper or lower)
        • damaged bushings placing the control arms in the wrong position
      • bent parts
        • knuckle could be bent (tacoma's are notorious for bent knuckles)
          • possible, easy to identify visually - look to thinnest part of knuckle for deformations (left and right for comparison)
          • stress marks will cause cracks in the painted coating
        • control arm mount could be bent - (left and right for comparison)
        • control arm (upper or lower could be created out of spec, IE...aftermarket parts suck)
          • this is pretty hard to measure without a CMM machine but low possibility of being that bad
        • lower control arm could be bent
          • possible, check left right for visual differences
        • upper control arm could be bent
          • possible, check left right for visual differences
        • upper control arm mount could be bent
          • I don't know how 3rd gens uppers are mounted but worth checking
    • Level of idiocy/ lack of knowledge involved in setting adjustment
      • high chance
      • Lazy tech
      • Broken parts tech doesn't realize are broken
    • Track down last in spec alignment
      • compare to stock
      • compare against which off road parts were installed
    I think this is a good list to start with. Let me know what you find when you start checking things off
    Cole
     
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  19. Apr 29, 2019 at 5:19 PM
    #19
    Rat_Bastard

    Rat_Bastard Well-Known Member

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    This is a HUGE help. My arms (lower and upper) bushings and uniballs are due for replacement. I have all the parts ready. Having the arms off will make it much easier to find any possible issues. I will put your feedback to use and will reply back with updates. Thank you Cole!
     
  20. Apr 29, 2019 at 5:46 PM
    #20
    Rat_Bastard

    Rat_Bastard Well-Known Member

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    FYI : I'm running total chaos upper and lowers.
     

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